Hussain, Aisha (2020) An examination of the role of childhood abuse, neglect and gender roles on psychopathic personality traits. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

As evident from previous findings of abuse in childhood, it is clear that there is an association with traumatic childhood experiences and psychopathic personality traits. In addition, gender differences also appear to exist in psychopathic personality and thus could have a moderating effect on the impact between childhood abuse and psychopathy. Through extensive research it is the association between childhood abuse (physical, emotional and sexual abuse and physical and emotional neglect), childhood gender roles, present-day gender roles and psychopathic personality traits amongst females and males that the current study seeks to explore. A sizeable gap has been represented in literature of which this study aims to fill. Although existing research demonstrates that clear gender differences exist within psychopathic traits, very little is known about how these differences are manifested. Therefore, the aim of this study is to fulfil the gap in literature by assessing sex differences in psychopathic personality traits by exploring the association between childhood and present day (adult) gender roles and psychopathic personality traits. A second aim is to assess gender differences in psychopathic personality traits and to establish in what specific traits these differences exist. Finally, the relationship between childhood abuse (examining all aspects of childhood abuse; physical, emotional and sexual abuse and emotional and physical neglect) and psychopathic personality traits was also examined. Data was collected from 643 participants (74 males and 569 females) who were recruited from a UK university, college and the general population. Two types of analyses were conducted, a one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to explore sex differences in the four psychopathic personality traits and a series of Hierarchical Multiple Regression aimed at each of the dependant variables (affective responsiveness, cognitive responsiveness, egocentricity and manipulation) to identify childhood predictors (physical, sexual and emotional abuse, physical and emotional neglect and childhood and present-day gender roles) of psychopathic personality traits. There was a statistically significant difference in psychopathic personality traits based on an individual’s gender with female respondents scoring higher on average than male respondents on all four psychopathic personality traits. A significant association between emotional and physical neglect and the psychopathic personality trait affective responsiveness was discovered. Emotional and physical neglect also proved to be predictors of further psychopathic traits, cognitive responsiveness and egocentricity. No association between physical, sexual and emotional abuse and any of the four psychopathic personality traits was discovered. A significant relationship was also discovered between childhood gender roles (masculinity/femininity scores) and all four psychopathic personality traits. Potential recommendations for future research and limitations are also discussed.

FINAL THESIS - HUSSAIN.pdf - Accepted Version
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